The biggest mistake ever made in business

I meet many talented and passionate entrepreneurs that often make one big mistake when it comes to creating wealth – they invest in other people’s dreams instead of their own.

Allow me to clarify. Small businesses usually evolve as follows: A smart person thinks of a big idea. They execute it with passion and hard work.  They grow the business and attract more customers. They make money. Grow some more. Attract more customers. Make more money. So far so good.

There comes a point however where most business owners start to get tired and start thinking ‘there must be an easier way to make money. There must be a way to make money which does not require so much of my time and effort.’

Invest in your own field of dreams
An entrepreneur in born

This is when they usually make the biggest mistake. Instead of investing back into their business by purchasing newer technologies and hiring more staff who can take the business to the next level, they look to external investments: Usually the stock market and/or real estate. They think that such investments are an easy way to accumulate wealth. Consequently they take their eye off their business. They spend a lot of time looking for real estate, watching the stock market, meeting with experts etc.. They become immersed in these external investments. They devote a lot of time and energy learning about them. Meanwhile their businesses are dipping in performance. They start to lose customers and lose some key staff. ‘But that’s ok’ they say, ‘I will make more money on the stock market. Who needs the headache of running a day-to-day business.’

Wake-up Call

The GFC hits and they lose a lot of money on the stock market. Their real estate investments drop in value. Their superannuation does the same.

The big mistake they made is this: They invested in other people’s dreams instead of their own. When you invest in a company on the stock market you are literally handing over control of your money to someone else. You are investing in their dreams and not yours. And worse still, you have no control over the affairs of that company. Some people call that a ‘smart’ passive investment, but I call it a ‘dumb’ investment. It’s like claiming victory (or suffering defeat) for a game where you weren’t even on the playing field. Where’s the fun in that?

So when you think about investing in other people’s dreams on the stock market, ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I acting out of fear of failure? (You see I believe that some of us invest in other peoples dreams because we fear failing in our own. We want someone to blame if we do lose money.)

2. Do I really love my business? Do I believe in the mission? (You see I believe that if you really love what you do, then you would never want to invest in other people’s dreams)

The answers to these two questions will hopefully will lead  you to this conclusion: The best investment you can make is in yourself and in your own business. That is the best form of wealth creation. Sure, it does require you to work hard but the return you get is much more than money. You get to wake up every morning and lead a life of purpose. You get to experience the joy of adding value to your customers lives. You get to inspire the people you work with. You get to control your own destiny. And you get the opportunity to grow your business on your own terms.